Talented players form great teams, and successful teams create recognition for talented players. That’s the story of the Sounders this season.
With a nine-point lead in the Western Conference, the Sounders have shown their worth as a group.
Clint Dempsey, DeAndre Yedlin and Obafemi Martins were voted onto the MLS All-Star team by fans, while All-Star coach Caleb Porter of Portland picked Chad Marshall and Osvaldo Alonso to fill out the roster.
“When you’re top of the table you’re going to get guys on the All-Star team,” Marshall said.
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Sounders coach Sigi Schmid has preached the recognition-by-winning approach his entire career. That’s why having five players on the All-Star team — most in the league and most in club history — means more to him than just seeing five of his guys’ names on paper.
It means that people are paying attention to the Sounders and their 12-4-2 record.
“Whenever you achieve team success, then individual recognition comes along with it,” he said. “You want to get picked for a national team, have your team do well, then the coach of the national team looks at your team and says, ‘Why are they doing well?’ If you’re doing badly, he’s not going to look at your team.”
Not only is the All-Star Game a chance for players to wave their respective club’s flag a little higher, but it’s also a chance to test themselves against top competition. On Aug. 6, the MLS All-Stars will play Bayern Munich in Portland.
“One of the best teams in the world,” Alonso said.
Bayern Munich has five players who recently won the World Cup with the German national team: Thomas Mueller, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mario Goetze, Manuel Neuer and Jérôme Boateng.
It will be a chance for American soccer players, including several Sounders, to further raise their profile internationally.
“It’s a way for us to see how we compare against the top teams in the world,” Yedlin said. “I’ve always said the MLS is such an underrated league and I think we showed that against Tottenham and hopefully we can show that against Bayern too.”
And five players will come back to Seattle to show that against the rest of the MLS competition. With a nine-point hold on first place in the Western Conference, this collection of individual talent now chases after an MLS Cup.
Said Marshall: “I definitely think that with the talent we have, and the way we’re playing on the field, the way we fight for each other, it could be a special year.”
|The MLS All-Stars will face Bayern Munich on Aug. 6 in Portland. Out of the 19 MLS teams, Seattle has the most players named to the All-Star squad. A look at the teams with multiple selections:|
|Sporting Kansas City||3|
|N.Y. Red Bulls||3|
|Real Salt Lake||2|